Your company has discovered that it must confront its chronic project cost problems head-on in order to operate profitably. As part of cost control measure, you will use the earned value management (EVM) technique to plan and track performance of the newest set of projects. Your company has determined that project managers must have a deep understanding of cost management.
-Discuss your understanding of EVM using concrete examples. -How does EVM impact project quality? -Describe how you would use EVM to determine whether a project is being completed within budget
The concept of ‘hegemony’ will emerge precisely in a context dominated by the experience of fragmentation and by the indeterminacy of the articulations between different struggles and subject positions. Hegemony for Laclau and Mouffe refers to the ‘battleground’ of identity. As the identity of the social is fluid and open to negotiation, different types of social articulations and struggles will attempt to hegemonise society to gain recognition. While this attempt at hegemony in itself is not a negative practice for Laclau and Mouffe, successfully achieved hegemony is. It is therefore imperative that a strong egalitarian and democratic framework is in operation for this site of social hegemony. The advent of democracy is therefore a pivotal moment in social history. Here Laclau and Mouffe (1985:186-187) concur with Claude Lefort’s analyses of the ‘democratic revolution’. Society prior to democracy was thought of as a unified body with power being embodied through that of a sovereign monarch, who was the representative of a god or gods. After the democratic revolution, power becomes an empty space without reference to a transcendental guarantor or a representation of substantial social unity. A split occurs between the instances of power, knowledge, and the foundations of law which are no longer absolute. Without these foundations, no law can be fixed and everything is open to questioning. Society cannot be apprehended or controlled, the people become sovereign but their identity can never be totally given. But once we are in a democratic society, we are in danger of totalitarianism. This is because a purely social power can emerge after democracy has destroyed extra-social powers, which presents its power as total and extracts from itself alone the principles of law and knowledge. As there are no longer any foundations or a centre to political power, it becomes necessary to bind together political spaces through hegemonic articulations. But these articulations will always remain partial, as they have no ultimate foundation. Any attempt to deny the radically open nature of the social will lead to totalitarianism, be it a politics of the ‘left’ according to which every antagonism can be eliminated and society rendered transparent, or a fascist authoritarian fixing of the social into a rigid hierarchical state system. The democratic logic of equivalence can therefore be hegemonised into totalitarianism. The radical openness of identity is therefore impinged with the danger of totalitarianism for Laclau and Mouffe. To avoid this, the diverse and fluid nature of identity should be embraced within an egalitarian and democratic framework, so no particular articulation may hegemonise social identity. This is difficult however as the ultimate lack of closure for identity leads to a necessarily antagonistic network of social relations. Antagonism is caused when a discursive form of one type of identity interrupts another’s discursive frame (1985:154). The inability of a particular identity to successfully assimilate the articulations of another leads to an internal antagonism that becomes the catalyst for a further modification of itself. Hence there is no stable core to any particular identity, identity is always shifting and changing. But this is also how a democratic framework can be constructed. As all identity is open, then democratic and egalitarian ideals can permeate different articulations to avoid totalitarianism: [I]t is only from the moment when the democratic discourse becomes available to articulate the different forms of resistance to subordination that the conditions will exist to make possible the struggle against different types of inequality. (1985:154-155) The openness of identity, once incorporated into a democratic framework, is therefore a positive and progressive phenomenon for Laclau and Mouffe. The impossibility of totalising society is embraced as an opportunity for new fields of thought to be created, free from the tyranny of authoritarianism. We can therefore see a great disparity between Baudrillard’s and Laclau and Mouffe’s notions of the openness of identity. Both perspectives fully accept the lack of stability in identity, yet for Baudrillard this leads to sociological and political impotence, whereas for Laclau and Mouffe this is seen as an opportunity for sociological and political creativity and action. For many theorists however, the apparent differences or similarities between various postmodern theories of unstable identity are merely superficial. They claim that there are deeper problems and inconsistencies within this notion of identity itself. Zizek (2000:106-107), for example, claims that whilst Laclau and Mouffe are vehemently opposed to all forms of essentialism, and seek to affirm the radical contingency of the political and irreducibility of the social, they nonetheless have to rely on a formal existential a priori, such as ‘the logic of hegemony’. In other words, one of the main problems with this type of discourse is that in maintaining that identity and the social is radically open, it has to rely on a certain formal logic. Laclau and Mouffe have to rely on a ‘logic of hegemony’ as the natural state of identity formation and articulation, as they deny that the fluidity of identity is a historical phenomenon: Only in contemporary societies is there a generalisation of the hegemonic form of politics, but for this reason we can interrogate the past, and find there inchoate forms of the same processes that are fully visible; and, when they did not occur, understand why things were different. (Laclau 2000:200) This proposes that all social identity was always-already the result of hegemonic struggles, whilst it is only in our ‘postmodern’ world that we can recognise this. So while the maintaining of the openness of identity is a form of anti-essentialism, it is nonetheless only operable within a rigid essentialist framework. Zizek criticises this approach for its lack of historical analysis. For Zizek (2000:95) it is the process of contemporary global capitalism that has created the conditions for the demise of essentialist politics, and has led us to the ‘recognition’ of the irreducible plurality of identities. Zizek argues that Laclau and other proponents of this postmodern notion of identity do not analyse the logic that makes this possible, and therefore do not engage with any theoretical confrontation with it. In fact Zizek (1993:216) and other notable theorists argue that postmodern theories of identity are merely a product of capitalism and late modernity: Far from containing any kind of subversive potentials, the dispersed, plural constructed subject hailed by postmodern theory simply describes the form of subjectivity that corresponds to late capitalism.’ Rather than postmodern identity being a liberating and revolutionary new way of rethinking the social, from this perspective it is merely a reaction of late modernity which fails to seriously engage with the major problematic of our time. It is in this sense that Hardt and Negri (2000:138) argue that ‘the postmodernist and postcolonialist strategies that appear to be liberatory would not challenge but in fact coincide with and even unwittingly reinforce the new strategies of rule.’ Postmodern notions of the fluidity of identity bring us to a political and theoretical impasse. But it could be argued that this is only the case if we accept postmodernism itself as a type of totalising theory. The notion of the fluidity of identity is useful and does open up new avenues of theorising and politicising. But as Zizek and others argue, the social and historical processes that have lead up to this should play a greater role in understanding modern or postmodern identity. Some postmodernists such as Baudrillard accept these historical processes, but insist that they are irreversible under a banner of the end of history. Others such as Laclau and Mouffe insist on the positive aspects of the instability of identity, and indeed even insist that it is unavoidable. But what both these positions share is the unavoidability of groundless identity, and the ultimate impossibility of creating positive content for identity. Laclau and Mouffe may argue that positive identity is possible, within a democratic framework. But the problem of failure remains unavoidable; all identity is either a failed attempt at hegemonising the social, or if successful then it is necessarily totalitarian as it denies the radical openness of identity as such. Even in this positive use of fluid identity, negativity is still very much inscribed into its operation. The lack of fixity in identity does indeed seem to correlate with modern or postmodern subjectivity, as Zizek argues above, but claims that make this a universal and necessary phenomenon are fraught with difficulties. References>GET ANSWER